04/26/2009 at 08:00 PM EDT
Carrie Ann Inaba is swapping her ballroom gowns and heels for some more casual wear – and it's all for a good cause.
The Dancing with the Stars
judge will participate in the 16th Annual Entertainment Industry Foundation and Revlon Run/Walk for Women
(co-hosted by Christina Applegate and Miley Cyrus
) on May 9, a fund-raiser that Inaba credits with helping her mom battle breast cancer.
"[My mother] was recently diagnosed with cancer and went through everything," Inaba, 41, who participated in the run/walk last year, tells PEOPLE. At the event, she met one of the co-chairs, Lily Tartikoff, who introduced her mother, Patricia Inaba-Chu, to two doctors who helped her choose a chemotherapy program.
"In a sense, doing the Revlon Run/Walk last year helped save my mom's life," she says about the event, which raises funds for breast and ovarian cancer research, adding that the network of people she met was a "huge support system for my mom and myself."
Patricia, whose cancer is in remission, is "doing really well," adds Inaba. "You know, cancer can be a devastating disease but it hasn't won yet."
Reporting by ELAINE ARADILLAS